The Nebraska Volleyball team is on a 17-day trip to Japan and Asia, where they are playing seven matches against top professional teams from the Japanese and Chinese leagues. The Huskers left Lincoln on June 15 and are spending the first week in Japan before leaving for China on June 22. Nebraska will return home on July 2 after touring sites like Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China toward the end of the trip. Below is a daily recap of the journey as told by members of the Husker Volleyball team.
June 17: Travel to Osaka
Travel day! We started our day at 3 a.m. at Devaney and headed to the Omaha airport to catch our flight to San Francisco. We had spent the last week trying to adjust to Osaka, Japan time zone early. Each night, starting last Monday, we adjusted the time we went to bed and woke up one hour later each night in an attempt to arrive in Japan as well adjusted to the new time zone as possible. This meant we hadn’t slept much when we began our travel day from Devaney. We were advised to sleep little early in the trip, and sleep as much as possible on our flight from San Francisco to Osaka. We had a three-hour layover in San Francisco where we all did our best not to sleep and grabbed some food before our long flight to Osaka, which was roughly 10.5 hours. As soon as we landed we headed to the gym to get a workout in. After our workout we headed to Dragon Red River for a team dinner. The restaurant was in the harbor and we had views of the ocean, which was great. A few girls had a big learning experience using chopsticks to eat the meal. Our hotel was very close so we all got checked in after dinner, had a team debrief over our plans for the next day, and enjoyed our first night in Japan. The travel was long, but we had a good time. We’re all excited to get some sleep and enjoy our first full day in Japan!
Go Big Red!
Hayley Densberger | #43 | Junior DS/L
June 18: Training at Hisamitsu Springs & Dinner with a view
Go Big Red!
Anezka Szabo | #5 | Junior Outside Hitter
June 19: Match vs. Hisamitsu Springs
Go Big Red!
Nicole Drewnick | Freshman Setter
June 20: Match vs. Toray
Nebraska scrimmaged Toray Arrows on Thursday, June 20 in front of Toray's team employees. The Huskers went with a younger lineup with true freshman Nicole Drewnick setting. Toray, the runner-up in the Japanese league this season, won both sets of the scrimmage, 25-17, 25-17. Capri Davis had seven kills for the Huskers in the match, and NU combined for 11 blocks. "We did a really good job blocking but struggled with attack and sideout," Head Coach John Cook said. "We'll get another chance to play on Friday and see if we can improve in those areas."
June 21: Match vs. Toray
Nebraska and Toray played again on Friday with the Huskers playing their full lineup this time around. NU dropped the first set, 25-20, but rebounded to tie the match with a 25-21 win in set two. In the best-of-three match, Toray had three match points ahead 24-21 in set three. The Huskers subbed in Anezka Szabo, who proceeded to post three straight blocks to tie the score at 24-24. The Huskers ended up winning the set, 27-25, and the match. "It was a really, really high-level match," Head Coach John Cook said. "The Huskers did a nice job of competing and playing some really good volleyball. Anezka was huge coming in that third set and stuffing three attempts." Lauren Stivrins had 11 kills on .364 hitting, and Jazz Sweet had nine kills on .474 hitting. Kenzie Knuckles had 15 digs, and Lexi Sun had five stuff blocks. "She did really well," Cook said of Sun. "She was matched up against one of their best players (Mari Horikawa), a lefty who is very good." The Huskers finished their stay in Japan with a 2-2 record playing against Japan's top two professional teams. The Huskers will depart Japan on Saturday and head to Shanghai, where they will play four more matches.
June 22: Huskers arrive in Shanghai
After a successful week in Japan, the Huskers arrived in Shanghai, China on Saturday, June 22 to get ready for four more matches over the next 10 days.
June 24: Match vs. Shanghai Bright Ubest
The Huskers opened their stay in China with a five-set victory over Shanghai Bright Ubest, 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 21-25, 15-11. Shanghai finished in third place in the Chinese Super League in 2018-19. Capri Davis led the Huskers, now 3-2 on their Asia trip, with 14 kills. Madi Kubik had 13 kills. Lauren Stivrins added seven kills on .600 hitting, and Callie Schwarzenbach had five kills while hitting .571. "I believe this is the first time we’ve ever won at the Shanghai gym," Head Coach John Cook said. "Everybody played in the match, and it was a great team effort. Nicklin Hames set the first two sets, and then Nicole Drewnick set the last three. We were really solid in every area to win the match." The Huskers had a 12-6 advantage in blocks. Stivrins had six, Schwarzenbach had five and Riley Zuhn had four. NU also served 10 aces with just seven errors. "Kenzie Knuckles and Megan Miller did an exceptional job digging balls," Cook said. "They made several big plays to keep rallies alive, and we won some big rallies." The teams will play again on Tuesday.
June 27 + 28: Scrimmage vs. Tianjin Bohai Bank
Nebraska traveled to Tianjin and trained with their professional team for two days, which included some unofficial scrimmages with no stats. "We drilled with Tianjin, and the drills have been competitive drills," Head Coach John Cook said. "The first day, we did our practice drills, and the second day we did their drills. It's been great. We've learned a lot about how teams train in different ways. We also played about 10-12 sets against Tianjin over the last two days and won three or four. I did a coaches clinic here in Tianjin, and that was a neat experience. Now we're taking a bus from Tianjin to Beijing, and we'll play their professional team (Baic Motor) on Sunday morning here, which will be Saturday night in Lincoln."